Letter to Smith Tuttle, 9 October 1841
JS, Letter, , Hancock Co., IL, to , , New Haven Co., CT, 9 Oct. 1841; handwriting of ; four pages; JS, Papers, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum, Springfield, IL. Includes address, postal stamp, and postal notation.Bifolium measuring 12¼ × 7½ inches (31 × 19 cm). The letter was written on all four pages and then trifolded twice in letter style, addressed, sealed with a red adhesive wafer, and mailed from , Illinois. The paper has separated along the bottom fold on both leaves. An adhesive wafer remains on the verso of the second leaf.The custodial history of the letter is unknown before it came into the possession of the Abraham Lincoln Bookshop in Chicago, Illinois, who sold it in 1972 to the Illinois State Historical Library (now the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum).
Schroeder-Lein, Glenna R., ed. Treasures of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library. Carbondale: Illinois Historic Preservation Agency and Southern Illinois University Press, 2014.
On 9 October 1841, JS wrote a letter from , Illinois, to his creditor in , Connecticut, regarding debts owed to Tuttle and his business partners. Tuttle, , and had sold land in to JS, , and in 1839. JS had been corresponding with Hotchkiss about the money owed and was striving to find ways to pay the debt, but tensions had arisen between the parties. Because of miscommunication and JS’s failure to make the scheduled payments, recent letters between the two men had included “harsh remarks.”While and were dissatisfied with the lack of timely payment, JS was also frustrated because he believed several obstacles had prevented him from making payments. For instance, JS was temporarily detained in , Illinois, in early June 1841, when governor attempted to have him extradited. Although he was released five days later when his arrest warrant was deemed invalid, the trip to , Illinois, for his hearing delayed his business dealings. Additionally, , an for the , was sent to deliver land deeds as payment to Hotchkiss and Tuttle but failed to fulfill this assignment. Hotchkiss had eagerly awaited Galland’s arrival, but without informing JS, Galland wrote to Hotchkiss, informing him that he, Galland, was headed west and would not be arriving in after all. Galland’s absence surprised both Hotchkiss and JS and added to their frustrations.After learning of the increasingly hostile communications between and JS, wrote a conciliatory letter to JS in mid-September 1841. Tuttle’s letter was read aloud during the church’s October 1841 general . JS’s letter of 9 October, featured here, was written in response. In this letter, JS explained his inability to make payments on schedule, his intention to pay the debts as soon as possible, and his desire to maintain friendly relations with his creditors.JS apparently dictated the letter to his clerk . The letter was mailed to through the post office on 12 October 1841. Before Tuttle received the letter, sent JS another letter regarding the debts on 11 October.